“The sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. So they set up for themselves Micah’s graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh.”
The idols of the people of the land were a constant snare to the sons of Israel. Check out the last words of John’s letter: 1 John. Any correlations?
“Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? Now then, deliver up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel.”
Civil war was the consequence for the disobedience of the people. Imagine the toll this took upon the heart and soul of God’s chosen people. Benjamin would lose his inheritance.
“The sons of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and each one of them went out from there to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
This is a theme throughout the book of Judges (see 17:6). Sliding ethics are always the tendency for humanity. Doing what is right in our own site comes so naturally.
And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Then she said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.
Ruth is a bright spot during the time of the Judges. While “everyone was doing what was right in their own sight” Ruth had found herself under the wings of the Living God.
Boaz replied to her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge. Then she said, “I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”
What a beautiful picture of a trusting faith! Ruth is one of the true “fathers of faith” found in the God Story. Awesome choices.
He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth your maid. So spread your covering over your maid, for you are a close relative.” Then he said, “May you be blessed of the LORD, my daughter. You have shown your last kindness to be better than the first by not going after young men, whether poor or rich. Now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.“
Ruth had a unique insight and her own set of priorities. All that happened in her life led her to make choices that differed greatly from the people around her, both at home and in Israel.
Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.
So cool – Ruth, a resident of Moab (Gentile) is made a part of the lineage of Jesus (King David). What hope this gives to anyone who feels on the “outside.”